“But it’s not that simple,” you say. You have financial entanglements, children, dogs, a mortgage and an image to uphold. Your religion forbids it. She would bankrupt you in divorce court. You lerrrve him. You’re certain that if you figure out the right method for walking on eggshells, she will see the light, grow up and become the person you once believed she was.
If that’s the case, then here is how you live with a Narcissist:
1) Focus on making the Narcissist the center of your Universe.
Give up any sense of individualism you may have been hanging onto and become a vessel of continuous narcissist feed. Give up your hobbies, ESPECIALLY the ones that previously made you feel good about yourself. The Narcissist HATES IT when you feel good about yourself. Focus on making him feel good about himself, instead. Go watch him perform his hobbies and tell him how awesome he is, how much better he is than you, how you wish you were half as awesome as he is.
Do you have a career that threatens the ego of the Narcissist? Give it up and take a job that pays less and is less gratifying. Preferably one that allows you to be at home at all times the Narcissist is home, so that you can cater to his needs AND bring in an income. Decline any offers for advancement or promotion.
Does your pet compete for your attention/affections with the Narcissist? Take it to a shelter.
Perform spontaneous back and foot rubs. The Narcissist will be especially pleased if you do this without being ordered to do it.
Prepare and eat the foods that the Narcissist enjoys. If her favorite food is fried liver with lots of hot sauce, eat it and pretend you like it. It would hurt the Narcissist’s feelings if you wanted to eat something else. The Narcissist’s feelings/wants/desires are way more important than your own.
2) Shut up and be happy.
Don’t complain. Complaining makes the narcissist anxious. Don’t tell him that his compulsive spending is causing problems. You’re the one with the problem. You should make more money.
Listen attentively as he tells you in boorish detail of how he took delight in abusing someone who deserved it. Always be in his corner. Hate that person with him. Then later, when the Narcissist no longer hates that person, like that person. It’s all about flexibility.
Don’t accuse him of having an affair. He might fly into a rage. Then the rage would be your fault. Just be happy he is still with you.
3) Change yourself to be exactly what he wants.
Don’t point out that he keeps moving the goal posts. Keep aspiring to be the perfect spouse/friend/child/employee. And if it seems an unattainable goal, because the Narcissist is never happy, regardless of how hard you try, that’s because it IS an unattainable goal. The Narcissist doesn’t know how to be happy and takes pleasure in making you unhappy. Nevertheless, keep trying. Keep changing yourself.
4) Rid yourself of all allies.
All of those people who told you to stop taking the Narcissist’s abuse? Get rid of them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. So what if they are long term friends? People change. It’s easy for them to say, “just leave.” They don’t understand how much you lerrrve her.
Cut off your family. They stopped being supportive of you years ago. They don’t understand how your life is better with the Narcissist. They are jealous. And envious. Besides, the Narcissist hates your family. She’s all the family you need. And your life will be easier with them out of the picture. Less conflict around the holidays. Less birthdays to remember.
5) Grow thicker skin.
You’re just too sensitive. While you’re at it, control your facial expressions. Lose some weight. Make more money. Spend more time with the Narcissist. Sharpen up on your penmanship. Clean up after yourself better. Clean up after the Narcissist better. Tweeze your nose hairs. Stop snoring. Don’t vacuum around the Narcissist because the noise bothers him. Vacuum when he isn’t around but whatever you do, do not let him know you vacuumed. Stop singing along with the radio. Dance when prompted, even if there is no music. Field all compliments directed at you, to the Narcissist. Give him credit for everything good. Take blame for everything bad. Become a light sleeper in case the Narcissist wakes up in the middle of the night with a question. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to tell the Narcissist how freaking AWESOME he is.
I hope this helps.
Pam McCoy is a writer, author and co-host of Crazybusters.